Learning from research on water governance: Priorities for One CGIAR.

Water is an essential resource for all life, but is extremely difficult to manage productively, sustainably and equitably. Good water governance has been a major theme of multiple international conferences for at least two decades (Woodhouse and Muller 2017). Without good governance, we cannot achieve poverty reduction, food security, environmental sustainability, equity and other global development goals or respond effectively to the ravages of climate change. Achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depends on the availability of water to users. However, while there are some local success stories, progress on improving water management has been poor. By many measures, we are moving in the wrong direction: access to water, water scarcity, water pollution and food insecurity are getting worse in many parts of the world. Further, the rapid loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services threatens humanity’s future (Bradshaw et al. 2021). There is strong evidence and broad agreement that this is fundamentally a governance failure (e.g., Pahl-Wostl 2017). If we do not succeed in governing water more effectively, we cannot achieve the SDGs. Getting the governance of natural resources right is also a pre requisite for achieving CGIAR’s ambitious 2030 goals (CGIAR n.d.).